Lap 35/66: Tyre change for Verstappen means he drops to fourth. Hamilton now leads by 10sec from Vettel with Bottas 2sec behind the Ferrari
Lap 34/66: Ricciardo comes into the pits. A medium tyre goes on. Will this be his only stop. Interesting tactics if so. Ricciardo rejoins in sixth. Verstappen still leads but will have to stop soon
Lap 33/66: Ignoring the two Red Bulls that haven‚Äôt stopped yet, Hamilton has a 21 second lead over Vettel. He‚Äôll want to get past Verstappen soon anyway, but for now he‚Äôs biding his time
31/66: Disastrous stop for Ocon. He‚Äôs stuck in the pits for 30 second while the mechanics try to get his right rear wing on. He‚Äôs plummeted to 16th. A real shame that as his fight with Alonso was hotting up
This is what happened at the start in a nutshell:
29/66: Sainz in 10th attacks Ericsson ahead of him and the two cars touch as they go side by side. Ericsson holds off the Renault though and keeps his ninth placed position. Great racing
28/66: Hamilton is flying on his new tyres. He is only two second behind the leader Verstappen, on new tyres.
Raikkonen has been on fire recently but he won‚Äôt get any points here. It looks like an engine issue.
26/66: Hamilton comes into the pits and rejoins behind Verstappen. The Red Bull hasn‚Äôt stopped yet, so Hamilton is in full control here
25/66: Raikkonen has a real problem and lets Verstappen through into second. It looks like his race might be over
24/66: Verstappen goes wide at turn nine. It‚Äôs sloppy but he‚Äôs safe in third for now, although he has not stopped yet
22/66: Bottas overtakes Magnussen and will now hunt down Vettel
Here‚Äôs the top 6 right now:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 6 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes
20/66: Bottas comes in to change to medium tyres. He comes right back into the Magnussen-Vettel battle, but Vettel dives through. Magnussen is now sixth and Bottas is seventh
19/66: Magnussen‚Äôs Haas is slowing Vettel down. He‚Äôs stuck in seventh.
18/66: Ferrari bring Vettel in for a tyre change. They are driving the tyre strategy now but Vettel is behind Magnussen now. Have they jumped too early here?
17/66: Martin Brundle says: ‚ÄúThis is one of those happy Lewis days when he is unbeatable ‚Äď so far.‚ÄĚ A long way to go Martin
Lap 15/66: Verstappen responds with his fastest lap of the race to keep Ricciardo at bay. Hamilton is now almost seven seconds clear of Vettel at the front
Lap 14/66: Ricciardo is chasing Verstappen hard and wants his fifth place. Second fastest lap from the Australian shows he means business. This is going to be tricky for Red Bull. Will they ask Verstappen to move over?
Grosjean looks forlorn after causing that early crash
Lap 13/66: Ocon is trying to recapture the 10th place Alonso took from him at the start. It‚Äôs a battle royale. Alonso‚Äôs super soft tyres are starting to go
Lap 11/66: Things have settled down after that dramatic start and Hamilton is now 4sec ahead. Bottas is starrting to gain on Vettel, who got the jump on his at the first corner
Lap 9/66: Hamilton is pulling away. Stoffel Vandoorne has a 5sec time penalty which he must tak at his first pit stop
Lap 8/66: So after six laps behind the safety car we are racing again and Vettel is already 2sec behind Hamilton‚Äô with Bottas 2sec further back.
Hamilton storms off again, and Alonso takes Ocon. Brilliant move from the Spaniard. He‚Äôs up to 10th
As the cars parade round the track, Grosjean is sitting alone on some steps wondering what he has done. One of only two drivers still waiting for a point this season, his Spanish grand prix is over already. He took Hulkenberg and Gasly with him, and they omn‚Äôt be pleased, but everyone else has survived for the restart.
Lap 1/66: So the race is on hold temporarily but behind the safety car Hamilton leads Vettel, Bottas is down to third, Raikkonen is fourth, Verstappen fifth and Ricciardo sixth
Four cars are out of the race already. Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Gasly and one other. Grosjean careered off the track and Hulkenberg hit him.
Hamilton gets to turn one first, Vettel takes Bottas off the start. Grosjean spins, Hulkenberg goes off and the safety car is out
We‚Äôre on the formation lap now. Just a reminder that Mercedes have locked out the front row, Ferrari the second and Red Bull the third. Not long now
Lewis Hamilton is looking to join a small list of F1 legends to win at this circuit for a third time. Should he triumph, he‚Äôll be on the same number of wins as Mika Hakkinen and three behind Michael Schumacher. We‚Äôre almost ready for lights out. And here‚Äôs a start-line weather update:
Christian Horner, Red Bull‚Äôs team principal, pulls no punches when asked what he‚Äôs said to Verstappen and Ricciardo after their crash in Baku. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve been on the naughty step for two weeks,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúThey know the rules. The plan is to race the cars ahead, not so much each other.‚ÄĚ
The Verstappen fans are out in force today as the anthem blares out at the Circuit de Catalunya
Talking of Alonso, Matt Loten has emailed in with his thoughts for the day:
‚ÄúLooking forward to seeing how McLaren and, in particular, Fernando Alonso get on today. The team seemed to be hedging their bets on the impact of this weekend‚Äôs upgrades, but qualifying suggest that they could finally be moving towards the right end of the pack. I‚Äôm not suggesting that they‚Äôre going to challenge the big three for the championship any time soon, yet Alonso, for my money, is still pound-for-pound one of the best racers in the field (alongside Hamilton and Ricciardo), and I‚Äôd love to see him in a position to at least give the Red Bulls some food for thought.‚ÄĚ
Carlos Sainz tells us that his Renault team have told him there is a 70% chance of rain. Bottas says ‚Äúit‚Äôs not too windy‚ÄĚ. Alonso is ‚Äúconfident‚ÄĚ. Thanks lads, riveting stuff.
Martin Brundle is on the grid walk and grabs hold of Rupert Grint, aka Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. ‚Äú I‚Äôm a big F1 Fan,‚ÄĚ he says. I love Lewis and Kimi Raikkonen is so cool‚ÄĚ. Rugby union‚Äôs Scott Quinnell is far too excited about being involved in some sort of ‚Äėfan van‚Äô.
I‚Äôve never been to the Circuit de Catalunya but I was once targeted by thieves in a supermarket a couple of miles away. A friend and I returned to his car loaded up with Spanish rioja only to find a back window had been smashed in and a bag stolen from the back. Fortunately the only thing gone was a baby changing bag. Idiots, I hope they enjoyed their nappy bonanza. Feel free to email me with your grand prix related mishaps, however tenuous.
It‚Äôs a big day for Max Verstappen, who triumphed here in 2016 on his Red Bull debut. Then, aged 18 years and 228 days, he became the youngest driver in F1 history to win a grand prix. Two years on his star has fallen a little in a blaze of error-induced crashes. He and his team-mate Ricciardo have been read the riot act by Red Bull after taking each other out in Baku but the Dutchman is still smiling. Our man in Catalonia, Giles Richards, has the lowdown on where Mad Max is at ‚Ä¶
Sean Bratches, F1‚Äôs commercial chief, is talking about taking F1 to Miami, but says it is no threat to Silverstone‚Äôs place in the race calendar. ‚ÄúCelebrity, glamour and fashion‚ÄĚ are just some of the reasons Miami and Fi1 are the perfect fit, he says. He then goes into over drive with the corporate speak. Miami is ‚Äúgood brand alignment‚ÄĚ he states. ‚ÄúWe we are trying to make F1 a media and entertainment brand,‚ÄĚ he goes on, ‚Äúa fan focused entity‚ÄĚ. Explanations on a postcard please
The commentators seem to think Hamilton will re-sign with Mercedes, and for another three years. The world champion has been coy on his future recently, leading to speculation that he will leave the sport to pursue music and fashion interests, but would he really throw in the towel just yet?
It‚Äôs not warm in Catalonia for today‚Äôs race, about 15 degrees at present, and that may favour the Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas. Toto Wolff joked yesterday that Mercedes were trying to fix the weather to make it ‚Äúarctic‚ÄĚ. Rain is forecast though, so that could throw a spanner in the works. Wolff has just spoken trackside to say he thinks most teams will make two pit stops in the race.
The head of Formula One‚Äôs governing body has responded to criticism from drivers about rule changes by saying they had every opportunity to contribute but often failed to attend meetings. The FIA president, Jean Todt, hit back after Hamilton and Vettel said new aerodynamic regulations for 2019 that would slow the cars by around 1.5 seconds a lap had come as a surprise. ‚ÄúI do respect them and know how busy they can be and all that. But they have access,‚ÄĚ said Todt. ‚ÄúUnfortunately very often there is a meeting and they don‚Äôt come to the meeting. I have always tried to hear what the drivers were saying. The drivers are invited to participate, to do something.‚ÄĚ Todt pointed out also that he had appointed a number of former racers to FIA commissions. Four-times world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel had said on Saturday that new aerodynamic regulations for 2019 that would slow the cars by around 1.5 seconds a lap had come as a surprise.
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes, 2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 3 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 5 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 6 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 7 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 8 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 9 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 10 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 11 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 12 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 13 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 14 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari 15 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 16 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 17 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 18 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams 19 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams 20 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso
After the madness of Azerbaijan we‚Äôre in Spain for the start of the European leg of what is shaping up to be a thrilling F1 season. Lewis Hamilton emerged from the Red Bull chaos in Baku to record his first victory of the season in its fourth race. He holds a four point lead in the drivers‚Äô standings from Sebastian Vettel, who won the first two grands prix of the season before Daniel Ricciardo‚Äôs masterclass in China. Hamilton will be on pole at the Circuit de Catalunya, despite saying before this weekend that he had ‚Äėzero comfortability‚Äô with his car.
The British world champion won from pole here last year, and will be difficult to beat at a track where overtaking can be tricky, but he was only four-hundredths of a second faster than his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying. The Ferraris of Vettel and Kimi Raikonnen make up the second row, with those dastardly Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen ready to rumble from fifth and sixth on the grid. The start could be quite something.